Producing good citizens
December 04 2016 10:41 PM
Jonathan Dey, the Principal of GEMS Wellington School, says the addition of 500 students each year is a healthy growth for the school. Photo by Umer Nangiana. Right: The school aims to produce well-rounded students.

Offering National Curriculum for England with an international perspective, GEMS Wellington School Qatar is fast expanding its students’ enrolment since its inception just more than a year ago. With a capacity to hold more than 2,500 students, the school already has attracted 500 students from different communities in Qatar.
Part of the family of Wellington schools worldwide, which blend traditional learning with 21st century educational technologies, GEMS Wellington School says it aims to produce students that become true citizens and leaders of the future. 
The school’s curriculum reflects the GEMS Core Values in action, recognised 21st century learning skills and qualities identified by employers as requirements for future success, says the Principal and CEO of the school.
“We offer a high quality British education to students right away from Foundation Stage I, which is age 3, and presently go up to Year 8. But next year we would open up to Year 9 and each year after that we go on right to Year 13,” Jonathan Dey, the Principal of the school tells Community in an interview. 
The nurturing of student life at GEMS Wellington School Qatar, he says, starts with the whole school experience that is designed into the purpose-built campus located in Al Wakrah. The modern campus boasts wide-open corridors and outdoor areas that allow students to move around the school in a free and open environment.
The facilities available at the school include art rooms, music rooms, laboratories, primary and secondary school libraries, indoor and outdoor dining areas, innovation room, medical centre, astro, ground level and rooftop games areas, multi-use gymnasium with seating for 280, dance studio and shaded outdoor foundation stage learning zones.
These facilities create a stimulating and supportive environment that engages the students and promotes learning and development, says the principal. 
“We can hold 2,600 students and we have full licenses from the Ministry of Education right away through to the age of 18. We are offering national curriculum going into IGSCE and A levels after, besides the foundation age group for our youngest,” says Dey. 
He says the school offers British national curriculum, while its students in Qatar come from 55 different nationalities. It is challenging to bring them all together around one single curriculum, which is new to many of them. 
“Every country has a different education system and every parent is used to doing something different. So I think one of the things that we are supposed to do is about effective communication and how we support our parents and students in changing from curriculum in their home country to a British education,” says Dey. 
British education is a little different, he explains. “We have all our teachers educated to master’s level in learning on teaching. They have their degrees in their academic subjects but they have an extra at least a year on the academics on how to teach. They are all native British speakers and 95 percent of them are trained in the UK,” says the principal. 
The school presently has a mixed demographic. Eight percent of the student body is from Qatar and other GCC countries. The school hosts a large number of Indian students as well, besides a good number from European countries, Australia, South Africa, Canada and others.
Dey, who was vice-principal of GEMS Wellington School in Dubai, says it has been a privilege for him personally to lead the school here. He has been here in Doha for 18 months and helped management complete the campus and set the curriculum. 
“Wellington is about high quality British education where there is emphasis on strong academics in English, Maths and Science. But equally important is the development of the whole child and we look at that through creative methods in teaching, opportunities for sports, performances and all the things that make a child rounded,” Dey elaborates. 
“Every child has got strength. Every child has got a moment of genius and I think it is very much our job and our opportunity to find that genius for every child,” says the principal of GEMS Wellington School-Qatar. 
This genius could be academic or it could be on a sport pitch; it could be on the basketball court and it could be dance, music or singing. What Wellington, he says, brings is that whole package of everything for the child so that they become well-rounded citizens of the future. 
The other thing that makes the school standout, Dey believes, is the element of community. The school engages very closely with the parents and sees them as partners. They are part of a triangle where the other two corners are students and the teaching staff. 
“Parents are the children’s greatest teachers and we work closely with them. And it feels nice, it feels like a community,” says Dey. 
The school has a parents’ café, offering networking opportunity where they meet up and interact when they come to drop off or pick up their children. The school offers a huge amount of extra-curricular activities as the day progresses. 
There is a whole range of sports from rugby, football, netball, cheerleading, dance, gymnastics and creative arts. Support is also available for students who want to push themselves academically.
The majority of students at the school come from Doha and the commute is facilitated by dozens of school buses. Besides increasing the enrolment in high years and enhance smart learning facilities, the school in its future plans aims to provide nursery education to students by highly-qualified master’s level teachers.
“It gives our youngest the best start in life. There is lot of research and lot of data about students who are taught by professionally trained teachers gaining high academic progress if we get them into a school environment as early as possible,” says the school principal. 
GEMS group is one of the largest private education companies in the world with presence in over 23 countries and having 57 schools. It arrived in Qatar three years ago and opened its first school, the American Academy. GEMS Wellington School, which is the British curriculum school, followed and it is currently in its second term.

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